What Are You Going to Remove?

As you approach the new year, you might have a resolution or two. I don’t believe in resolutions. I believe in trying to change my habits, one small thing at a time. I decided to start this week, not waiting for Jan 1. Yes, I am strange. That’s fine.

But here’s the problem. If you add a habit, what are you going to remove?

In my experience, if you want to change a habit, or resolve to do something different, you might need to remove one thing, as much as you want to add something else. This works for personal and organizational change.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized I had not read my professional magazines. I had some of them dating back to July. (Yes, I realize it’s December.) This is a Big Problem. I needed a different system to manage my reading, didn’t I?

I decided I had to change my nightly reading habit. I normally sat down on the couch after dinner with my iPad or my kindle. Well, no more. First, I had to read one magazine before I read fiction or non-fiction. If I finished one magazine each night, I could get through all of them by the end of the year.

I did. Mission accomplished.

But, that doesn’t address how I got in this position, with a backlog of professional reading in the first place. I thought about this, and gave myself these options:

  1. Read them all on my iPad. I am not good at this. I don’t read the weekly magazines that come to my iPad now.
  2. Stop subscribing to all of them. Reevaluate which subscriptions I want to keep.
  3. Move the pile of unread magazines to a different location that will allow me to read a magazine each night, while I have unread magazines.

I decided to go with #3, and keep evaluating (#2) as I proceed. Do I really need my subscriptions? Do I like those magazines? Is it time to change?

This is a similar approach to the supplies I use. I have an office supply addiction. Don’t even ask about pens. When we moved into our new house, our move coordinator was astonished at my pen and notebook collection. A couple of years ago, I decided that if I bought any more office supplies, I had to move some out. I had to be “office-supply-neutral.”

This works the same way with your job. If you take new responsibilities with your job, you need to relinquish some of the old ones. Either you delegate the old responsibilities to someone else, or, as in my case, you pay someone to do them, or you transfer those responsibilities to someone after you coach them. But, you can’t continually take new responsibilities without giving up some of the ones you have now.

If you want to change something, think about what you’ll give up, what you are not going to do. You might ask these other questions, Is Anyone Using This? Or, Does This Enhance My Life? Those questions might help you start.

Maybe you don’t need resolutions. Maybe you need to stop something, to remove something. That might be a great way to start the new year.

Dear adaptable problem solvers, the question this week is, especially if you plan to change: What are you going to remove?

Have a lovely New Year’s and I’ll see you next year.

4 thoughts on “What Are You Going to Remove?

    1. johanna Post author

      Wow, that’s a big thing to remove! Congratulations, Yves. I hope you have as much fun with your house construction as Mark and I had with our house remodel. (Our remodel was almost a new construction. But, we did have some previous walls we had to use as constraints.)

  1. Yves Hanoulle (@YvesHanoulle)

    well as a change agent, I question all constraints, until we realised the best option was a new house in the garden…

    ps I personally don’t have any magazines anymore since a few years. not even news papers. I read everything online, when I have time.

    1. johanna Post author

      Yves, that may be very smart of you, to eliminate all magazines. I am not there yet. Maybe as I examine my reading this year, I will decide to follow you. We will see.

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